Volume 94, Issue 73
Thursday, February 1, 2001
|ARTS AND ENTERTAINMENT
Life on Canada's hip hop frontline
Photo by Sheinina Raj
FINALLY - TANGIBLE PROOF THAT ENGINEERS AREN'T THE ONLY ONES PROUD OF THEIR LEATHER JACKETS. Baby Blue Sound Crew plan to raise the roof tonight at The Wave. Doors open at 8 p.m..
By Raoul Juneja
Missed appointments. Late calls. Rushed conversations. This is what reporters should expect in advance if trying to interview Baby Blue Sound Crew, Canada's 'Bounce Masters.'
It's probably this 'workaholic' attitude that has kept Baby Blue alive in hip hop's fickle industry over the past five years. "I'm in the middle of a studio session, working on the next album, trying to do three things at once," says Kid Kut, the group's producer/MC.
"But that's my thing stay hungry, stay focused, stick to what you believe in, and never be satisfied."
Baby Blue's current CD, Private Partyf, has been making noise across Canada thanks to the impressive amount of airtime MuchMusic has given to its first single, "Money Jane," which features appearances from Kardinal Offishall, Sean Paul and Jully Black. Can we expect Canadian tracks like this on a Private Party II?
"Definitely," Kid Kut assures. "Who's on it is usually a secret, but we'll always represent hip hop and reggae. We're fortunate MuchMusic is playing "Money Jane," because without them, we probably wouldn't be doing what we're doing." Whether MuchMusic is doing enough for Canada's urban industry is another question.
"MuchMusic does what they can. It's not like Canadian hip hop is making them millions of dollars," Kid Kut notes. "I think they're doing pretty good, but things can always be better. See, even if we rock a crowd and everyone leaves satisfied, in our hearts, we know we can always do better."
Kid Kut seems to share this attitude with the other 3 members of his Sound Crew, whom he calls his "army" KLC is the DJ and also handles marketing, C-Boogie is in charge of public relations and Singlefoot helps new artists receive some much-needed exposure.
He proclaims he still has love for where the group got its start. "I think college radio is very, very important, because there's a lot of other songs my squad produced on our album that mainstream radio just won't play. We need urban stations, and the only thing that's urban is college radio, because they got different shows and formats."
It was Baby Blue's mixed tapes, which normally featured a nice blend of R&B, hip hop, reggae and even calypso, that fully exposed Baby Blue to Canada's urban audience.
Eventually, it also led them to become the Official DJs for the Toronto Raptors, and the first Sound Crew from the Detroit, Toronto and Buffalo areas to appear on Black Entertainment Television's Planet Groove. Interestingly enough, it was the government's banning of Baby Blue's mixed tapes that actually led to their signing with Universal Music Canada.
"The record company executives wanted all bootlegging to be stopped, and although mixed tapes were a form of bootlegging, street teams at those same record companies were using Baby Blue mixed tapes to get their urban music out there," Kid Kut explains.
"We were the pioneers Ð before WBLK 93.7 FM, KISS 92.5 FM, and before MuchMusic started playing urban music, our mixed tapes were the only form of getting things out."
"We're into parties, so when we play a song at a jam, and people are liking it and getting excited, we know it's a big record Ð no matter what," says Kid Kut, explaining how they select what to put on their records.
Fortunately, Kid Kut manages to let Western's Baby Blue fans know one last thing before the interview ends "With Baby Blue, expect the unexpected. And if you didn't come to party, stay home."
Baby Blue will perform tonight at 8 p.m. at The Wave. Tickets are $8 for Western students and $6 for HipHop Club members. The ShoStoppas Sound System and DJ Kirpan will be opening.
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